Seventy years ago, on February 23, 1945, five United States Marines and one United States Navy corpsman planted the American flag on the peak of Mount Suribachi on the Japanese Island of Iwo Jima.
Not many people know that the 37-square-foot flag actually came from Pearl Harbor. The flag was discovered in a Pearl Harbor Navy depot only a few months earlier by a young Navy officer, Allan Wood.
The invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 19, 1945, after the fall of Philippines. Iwo Jima was used by the Japanese as an early warning station. The island was heavily fortified. The Japanese infantry kept secure positions in their underground bunkers and "pillboxes" that were connected by a myriad of tunnels. The bloody and difficult battle resulted in heavy casualties among the invading US Marines. It lasted until March 26, 1945, but the peak was taken only four days after landing.
The iconic shot was taken by an Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal who received a 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Photography.
This image inspired Felix de Weldon to sculpt the United States Marine Corps Memorial that was dedicated to all Marines who lost their lives in wars, past and present. The Monument is located near the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC. It is a constant reminder of an incredible sacrifice and bravery of men who loved their country more than anything else.
By Dominique Allmon
Image source here